Here We Go Again
16 August 2010 | Elizabeth City, NC
This is where boat math comes in handy: 36 = 0 ................... as in Marker 36 in the Elizabeth River, Portsmouth, equals Mile Zero on the ICW. We're in the Ditch.
We stopped overnight at Ocean Marine Yacht Center at Mile .7 and topped off the tanks with the lowest priced fuel in the Bay region, $2.58/g. Go ahead, now is the time for all sailors to smirk at the power boaters. We took on 393 gallons of diesel giving us a total of 700 in the saddle tanks. How's that 95 degree vee-berth feeling now? Finally, PRIM is nearing her lines and not bobbing around like a cork. The good news is, that will take us almost the whole way to Florida. Once we get the aft tank operational, we could make the whole run to Palm Coast and back some on a single topoff. For this trip, we'll top again at another low price fuel stop in SC or Georgia. You can save $100 or more by watching the fuel price updates on the Waterway Guide. The stern tank, another 300 gal, has not been used in a while so I won't attempt to go there until it's been thoroughly cleaned out and that's a major, messy project for some rainy day(s?) in home port.
We took the Dismal Swamp route again because we love it and we wanted to stop in Elizabeth City again. Three tugs were maneuvering a freighter backwards through Gilmerton Bridge so we stood by for about half an hour for the channel to clear. Robert the lockmaster at Deep Creek Lock is still going strong, smiling and friendly as ever. He wished us well as we locked through in the 8:30 opening. There were lots of submerged floaters in the canal but we worked our way through unscathed and were still early at South Mills opening at 1:30. I'll check the running gear at Dowry.
The next eighteen miles south of the canal is in my estimation the most stunningly beautiful section of the whole ICW. The channel opens up a bit, the water is deeper, and the sweeping turns of the Pasquotank River lined by a cypress forest provide one spectacular scene after another.
A hefty sea breeze filled in just about the time we approached the Elizabeth City bridge so the city docks on the lee shore were not an option to us for the second year in a row. We pulled into our same slip at Pelican Marina in Elizabeth City at 4:00 pm. 51.8 mi. for the day (the ICW is in statue). We showed 9 hrs on the water, 7.5 hrs underway allowing for the Gilmerton standby, two locks, a 30 minute wait entering South Mills and picking our way through debris in the canal. Not bad at all on a gorgeous day. Today, a short 35 mile hop to the Alligator River across Albemarle Sound.